How Content Marketing Accelerates the Sales Cycle
Many people are using the buzzword phrase “content marketing” these days, but what does it really mean?
Content is information — like a new page on your website explaining your services. Or it can be pictures. Or a video. Or a slideshow. Or a graphic, like an “infographic.” Or a blog post. Or any combination of the above. One of the beauties of the Internet, in addition to its ubiquitous “free” nature, is that there are so many ways content can be created and presented — including interactive or personalized custom programs. (Check out the video here that allows anyone to pull content from their Facebook page for a really cool custom interactive experience.)
But the content marketing that can help you the most is the kind of content that positions your company against your competition in the most subtle of ways – by actually providing something of value to your customers. Talk about jump-starting sales.
First let’s talk about what kind of content marketing turns people off. Honestly, most of the stuff that companies do is self-serving, product-oriented content. Like another buy-one-get-one-free price promotion. Or maybe it’s another *yawn* clearance sale. Or perhaps they’ll be in attendance at yet another event, so “come by” and see them.
Those things have their place. But what do customers really long for? What are they NOT getting from you or your competitors that would actually be of benefit to them?
Let’s look at an example. In talking with a very stylish young lady who works here at Vertical Measures, I found out that this girl buys loads of clothes. She’s young, she’s hip and she’s all that. She’s also athletic and likes the outdoors. And she’s on every major clothing retailer’s list.
Trouble is, she has hardly ever seen anything that might help her out with new fashion style tips. Or more information about how a piece of clothing is actually made, or what it’s made out of. Or, what to wear to what event in what weather. The possibilities are endless, and the thing is, that type of content — content that’s largely missing — would be much more likely to sway her to buy and spend even more. She might even start feeling that one particular company is “better” than the rest of them, and her loyalty and budget might increase.
In her opinion, a retailer really doing a great job with content is REI. Not only do they provide great clothing/lifestyle information, but they localize it, and bring it down to the personal level that customers like her can relate to.
So what can YOU do in terms of content marketing to spark sales? It can take some creativity and imagination.
Or *drum roll* you could just talk to your customer service and sales staff. They have heard every objection, every complaint, every good story and every informational content tip that you could possibly take and leverage in your marketing efforts. Yet in most companies, they are ignored.
If you want to be better than your competition, be better than your competition. Use content marketing to its best advantage, by focusing less on you, you, you and more on them, them, them. What your customers want and need.
Add valuable content to your website, market it out on the Internet as well as your own email list and notice the increases in customer loyalty and sales volume.
About Pel Abbott
As a former small-business owner, advertising agency executive, and marketing manager at a major newspaper, Pel brings a diverse background to the team at Vertical Measures. A solid grounding in marketing and business principles allows her to help clients generate concrete online marketing plans by identifying and capitalizing on their unique advantages over their competitors.